Type: Trad, Aid, 400 ft, 3 pitches, Grade IV
FA: Molly Higgins & Larry Bruce, May 1976, P1 & 2 Eric Bjornstand & Jimmy Dunn, early 1970s
Page Views: 10,132 total · 67/month
Shared By: Cole Chilton on Nov 20, 2006
Admins: slim, Andrew Gram, Nathan Fisher, Perin Blanchard, grk10vq

You & This Route

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Access Issue: RAIN, WET ROCK and RAPTOR CLOSURES: The sandstone around Moab is fragile and is very easily damaged when it is wet. Also please ask and be aware of Raptor Closures in areas such as CAT WALL and RESERVOIR WALL in Indian Creek Details


The route is on the south side of the canyon right off the road and follows a very thin line that winds up the extremely steep and sheer face of Anasazi Wall. This route isn't very well documented but still seems to attract a lot of attention. Artist Tears has been hammered on considerably, and the already large pin scars on the route have been growing larger with each year. Regardless, the climb is still magnificent and will hopefully go clean soon.

P1. The first pitch is considered to be the crux. I managed to hook through the pin holes and nutted through most of the remainder of the pitch only love tapping two nuts to reach the belay.

P2. Unfortunately, the second pitch was much harder to maintain a clean accent, and I ended up doing more hamering than I wanted to. With the advent of Splitter Cams, this pitch, and possibly the whole climb, will go completely clean.


Kudos to the party that manages to do so!!! This is one of the sheerest walls out there!

P.S. The descent is a nightmare to find. We never did find the right way down, so I won't put anybody else through that misery and keep our line of descent private.


On the Anasazi Buttress betwen Negro Bill & Short canyons.


Cams, Splitter Cams, fixed bolts, drilled angles.

Getting There

Artist Tears is located about 1.5 miles out of Moab along the River Road heading east to Castle Valley and can be found on the south (shady) side of the road. The climb accends the sheerest face in that vicinity.


I stopped at the edge of the road a few weeks ago and looked at Artist tears. There were fixed anchors for the whole route. Is rappeling not an option? Or do you miss out on some 5.8 action if you rap off the anchor on top? Feb 25, 2007
Clayton Rardon
Yucca Valley, CA
Clayton Rardon   Yucca Valley, CA
Hey Ben,

I'll climb Artist Tears with you. This summer. Be there or be talked about. Apr 24, 2007
I'll be there man. I wouldn't want to miss your cycle. Apr 24, 2007
toddgordon Gordon
Joshua Tree, California
toddgordon Gordon   Joshua Tree, California
This climb was something that I really couldn't get out of my mind until I did the climb. I had read accounts of the thing, and I was afraid. I managed to do the climb with Dave Evans and Greg Epperson in April of 1993, and we had a blast. Greg lead the first pitch, and he did a great job and blazed up it rather fast. It could be the most difficult pitch, but all 3 are sort of tricky a bit. Pitch one has added "bonus" of that funky bolt ladder with the tiny bolts;....THAT could be potentially dicey if any or some of the bolts failed;...they seem very small and weak (unless they have been replaced...). The rock is also sandy/crumbly in a few spots. Pitch 2 is awesome;.....slightly overhanging, and following the seam/crack system (pin scars?). When we did it, there were very little pin scars....(So we added some more!....hey;....we are just doing our part so it will eventually go clean;...alright?)I lead this pitch, and I stacked lots of angles with leaper z pins.....for miles......the pin placements we all tied off, for the pins bottomed out after a couple of inches. There were a few nut placements, a few cam placements, and a few bolts too. I was afraid at first on this pitch, but if you DID fall, or pull any pieces....so WHAT!.... you would just fall through the air like a bungee jump.... there aint 'nothing to hit but air. This lack of danger makes the whole pitch fun and exciting and even relaxing in some ways. Dave lead the last pitch;...we all took about 2 hours on our leads.....no speed record, but steady progress. We took a porta-ledge to sit on...without it, we would have been uncomfortable. Once we got to the top, we wondered around a bit, it started to rain, and we ended up rappelling (in the dark) in the canyon to the west, on anchors that we left ourselves...it wasn't a way anyone had been before. I think you can drive a jeep up there too... that would be a nice way back to town.......This was a climb I dreamed about for a long time, and finally being able to climb it with my buddies, was a great adventure. A few years later, Kevin Daniels and Tony Sartin raced up the thing, and when I asked them how it was, they said they thought it was easy;...so there ya go! Pin scars in sandstone ARE ugly...but because of the softness of the rock, soon there are small cam placements... too bad, but what can ya do about it? Sure is wild looking from the road, aint' it? It's a great adventure! Apr 29, 2007
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
There's a pretty good shot of the route on summitpost at:

summitpost.org/images/origi… Apr 29, 2007
Luke Malatesta
Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
Luke Malatesta   Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
This route now goes clean. We did Tears' clean this November and cleaned it up a little too. It was in bad shape (the scars and some of the fixed gear). The route is awesome, steep, and sheer. We replaced bunches of bolts and all of the anchors are now bomber. Hopefully people will start to go and do this thing!

The route can be done several ways, over the years another set of anchors has appeared breaking the old-school pitch one into two short pitches. Pitches 1&2 are linkable as are 4&5. The route (if you go from anchor to anchor) is 5 pitches long.

Pitch one: Warm up pitch. Climb 5.Easy slab (5.5) to a pin, hook to a bolt, handplace a #4 BD Angle (sawed or tied off, do not nail something in here for the hole is in poor shape and the move is above a new bomber bolt!). Follow the bolt/rivet ladder, then do one reachy offset nut placement to belay anchors. C1+

Pitch two: Business Pitch. Make a couple of hook moves to a pin, hook to another pin, then start a string of "wouldn't want to whip on that" placements (tricams, hooks and small offset wires) past two more pins to the belay. C3

Pitch three: Money Pitch. This pitch is awesome and has just enough scarring to go clean (rock also gets better.) Make one or two small offset wire placements to a bolt, then start a string of small wires in an overhanging shallow seam with the occasional tricam and cam placement. This nonsense ends at bolt/rivet ladder (many of which were replaced) which takes you to the next belay. C3

Pitch four: Casual Pitch. This is the longest and steepest pitch of the route. Bring a ton of tie-offs and rivet hangers. We chose not to replace anything on this pitch ( everything is a 1/4" or 3/8" Rawl Drive, or a pin.) There are a couple of very reachy moves and be prepared to lasso or improvise something to reach some fixed gear (getting in your topsteps is hard to do in some spots). Pretty much just follow fixed stuff and place decent gear along the way until you reach the final belay. C2 ish

Pitch five: Short Pitch. Aid/free climb past some fixed gear (nuts and pins)in a groove to the summit. There are new anchors we put in off to the left on a small patch of varnish. 5.8 or C1 ish

I am not sure on the hike/rappel into Negro Bill descent. We rapped the route. If you choose to do this, rap a short distance over the lip to last set of anchors ( 25'?) then make a double 60 rap to the start of pitch 3, then one more double to the ground. Fix a rope from the start of pitch 3 to the top of pitch 4. If you do not do this I am not sure how you would get back into the wall.

Clean Gear List:
No Hammer!
Sawed off BD #4 Angle (normal one will work, just have to tie it off)
1-2 sets DMM Peanuts
1 set HB offset brass nuts, doubles in 3 largest sizes (yellow,green,blue)
1 set tricams pink-blue, double in red
1 set offset aliens
1 set aliens (full set including largest sizes)
1 set camalots #.5-#2
1 set stoppers
25+ free biners'
BD grappling and cliffhanger hooks
12 rivet hangers
20 tie-offs
screamers useful
Belay seat/ledge highly recommended
extra rope to fix pitches

This was an amazing route and I have looked @ it for sometime now. We think this was the first clean ascent. Special thanks to C.Burr for doing this with me and being committed from the start. This route is safe and awesome. Go do this thing!

Artist Tears IV 5.8 C3

L.Malatesta & C.Burr 11/07

I will also add a topo soon. Nov 19, 2007
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
What an amazing looking line. Can't believe I've never known about this until now! Jan 18, 2008
First climbed it in '93 with many hand placed Beaks/RURPs and then "Clean Solo'd" this "Classic" back in '01 after a "Euro" crew finished it and really banged the hell out of P2. Had to pull some really tough "Clean Tricks" out of my tool box to avoid any further damage to this pitch on my Solo. Recent pics show that not many folks have added to the damage. Great route in my book. Please keep the pins at home and help keep it CLEAN and free from any further damage! May 4, 2008
Luke Malatesta
Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
Luke Malatesta   Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
I think that this route is on the upper end of C3....I have never climbed anything that is C4 though. Dec 2, 2008
Jason Kaplan
Glenwood ,Co
Jason Kaplan   Glenwood ,Co
Ditto, thanks for the motivation. This was my hardest aid route to date for sure. Such a sick line. Although I wonder how many more ascents it will actually take as the rock is so soft even clean ascents leave a mark I think. like when micro nuts and cams rip, or groove out placements. Cleaning the micro nuts is tricky too.
Get on it while you still can, and tread lightly.
Oh and BTW never used one tri-cam.

Hey luke did you go back up that sucker and replace those pins? or your just remembering how wonderful it was? Thanks again for your hard work! Dec 4, 2008
Luke Malatesta
Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
Luke Malatesta   Moab Utah
  5.8 C3+
I haven't gone back up there yet, not sense we fixed it up....I was just reminiscing..Hopefully I will get up there before x-mas, I have some other business going on up there on that wall..It will fixed by the spring though for sure...sooner the better though before they become useless blown out holes..Luckily it does not get a lot of traffic and it gets no sun this time of year.

As far as cleaning thin brass, I use a pika nutbuster and nut tool..Pops them right out and saves the cable(s)...It is light to.

I thought that tricams worked great in the shallow box scars...But once I find something that works well, I tend to get tunnel vision leapfrog it with me for a whole pitch.

No Problem, Nice Work.

Luke Dec 5, 2008
John McNamee
Littleton, CO
John McNamee   Littleton, CO  
We climbed this earlier this week in perfect temps. It is a classic route and other than the first pitch safe to lead. Luke's beta is excellent. Placed only a few cams on the entire route, green/blue and green/yellow offsets and a couple of red master cams. Tricams worked perfectly in the pockets including some of the larger sizes. We had 3 or 4 size 6 and 7 DMM brass/alloy offsets and we used them on every pitch. The pro was better than expected and the route wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. This route can be climbed without any cam trickery as shown in the pics above.

We rappelled the route and it was a pretty wild ride!

Thanks to Luke and friends for fixing this route up.

Mini TR of this route and Zenyatta Entrada Sep 29, 2010
Greg Miller
  5.8 C2+
Greg Miller  
  5.8 C2+
an intimidating and steep line, but its all there. The more this gets done, the harder it will be to maintain a clean ascent.
key beta for pitch 3 is hand stacking a 4 and 5 angle piton. combining 1-2 and 4-5 is key.
We didn't place anything bigger than #1 camalot. I'd recommend bringing 1 set of tricams pink-purple, 3 sets of brass, 2 sets of larger offsets, two sets of offset cams (nothing to small), double cams .3-#1, 12 rivet hangers, screamers, belay seat.
All the belays are solid. Feb 5, 2018
Zach Ciaglia
Chicago, Il
  5.8 C3+
Zach Ciaglia   Chicago, Il
  5.8 C3+
Route still goes! But it's still crumbling. Ripped a grappling hook outta a pod on P3 that had obviously been hooked a bunch before. A DMM yellow offset nut now fit in the scar. I hand placed the #4 angle about 4 times too, dunno how long those pods will last.

Thought P1 was the crux. Stardrive -> angle -> hook -> bolt doesn't hit me as C1+. Especially with the soft rock and only thing keeping you from tumbling down the 20ft slab to the ground is a star drive. Sep 18, 2018